Visitors on Ragdoll

With the nights drawing in rapidly, Chris and Rosanne left work early to try and make it down to Ragdoll before dark. It didn’t used to matter so much when she was kept on a pontoon, but now that she’s on a mooring, everything becomes that little bit trickier in the dark!

We sat Ragdoll on the pontoon overnight, and waited for our weekend visitors to arrive. Whilst we were waiting, Chris managed to fix the issues with the engine light not coming on. It turned out to be a relatively easy quick problem to fix! Yay!

Rosanne’s brother and sister-in-law arrived for their first sailing trip quite late, and we all enjoyed a takeaway and catch up on board before bed. We were up early next morning to make the most of the day, and enjoyed a “Ragdoll Special” bacon pitta for breakfast.

We sailed down the Clyde, and onwards into the Kyles of Bute. As we approached the Kyles, we were very pleasantly surprised when a tug coming in the opposite direction slowed right down so that we didn’t hit his wake at full blast… what a considerate skipper! We even had the kite up! It got a bit rainy, but it was still nice to be out. We anchored in Caladh Harbour, in among several other boats.  It was the busiest we’ve seen it in a while, and was a bit of a squeeze!  Monty bit well and Chris was most pleased.

After a bite of lunch, we all piled into the dinghy for a circumnavigation of the island.  It was the first time we’d had more than 2 of us in the dinghy, but thankfully we stayed afloat! Chris decided that the weather was too tempting not to take a snorkel, (well, it was rainy, but the water was very clear – any excuse really…) and enjoyed exploring the bay, checking out how Monty was holding along the way.  Nick, Sue and Rosanne enjoyed drinking tea and warming up back on Ragdoll.

Note for the Log

The bottom at Caladh is perfect for anchoring, especially towards the north part of the bay – gritty sandy clay, occasional small rocks and weed, otherwise very clear and obstruction free. Some debris in the form of beer and wine bottles, old disposable barbecues etc. I had to satisfy my curiosity as I have tried several times in here with our old CQR and failed to get a decent bite. As you can see, Monty the Mantus is well in! Out of curiosity, I had a glance at how our neighbours Delta was coping. It was set, but not as deeply buried, and where the Mantus had set within the length of the anchor with no drag mark, the Delta had dragged almost half a boat length! These modern anchors are well worth the investment. I also had a look at the rocks to the North entrance, and I will do another post about that soon.

With the weather improving we decided to head back to Rothesay for the evening, chasing the blue sky! Rothesay harbour was also the busiest we’d ever seen it, and thankfully there was just one Ragdoll sized space left!

We cooked a super tasty pasta meal onboard and enjoyed the rest of the evening a la Ragdoll.

Next morning we went for a walk to Port Bannatyne and checked out a house where Nick and Rosanne holidayed as children. It was nice to walk a little further than we had before, and explore a little wider afield.

After paying our berthing fees, and obviously, an icecream from Zavaroni’s we got back onboard and set off back. Rosanne made some tasty pastries along the way.

Chris got the harness out and decided to throw Rosanne overboard. She got some cool new angles of Ragdoll to photograph. Chris wasn’t able to persuade anyone else to put the harness on, so to continue the fun, he then sent Rosanne up the mast! She was pretty terrified, but also really enjoyed the awesome view. The hardest part was coming back down again!

With not much wind, we had an enjoyable motor back to our mooring, paying Cloch Lighthouse a visit along the way. As always there were plenty of porpoises! We were back at the moorings around 4pm, and after saying goodbye to our visitors we packed Ragdoll up for another week. We’re really feeling the end of season pinch now. Keeping Ragdoll on a mooring this season means we need to be a little more careful when it comes to poor weather. Combined with the shorter days, the end of the season is close by.

West Coast Adventures Part 1

Day 1 – Gareloch to Rothesay

It was touch and go whether this holiday was going to happen after all! Chris had been sent to Houston two weeks previously and just narrowly escaped being trapped there by hurricane Harvey!

We arrived at Ragdoll late on Saturday and spent a while unpacking and figuring out where to store things. Chris couldn’t understand why we had so much stuff, but Rosanne had to remind him that the longest we’d ever spent on-board before was four nights!

Sunday dawned a nice bright morning, and whilst Chris had a long lie in recovering from his jetlag, Rosanne enjoyed drinking tea on deck watching the wildlife- including a Kingfisher!

In the afternoon we set off towards Rothesay. Within a few minutes of motoring, we began to wonder why we were going so slowly!? We had lost 3 kts off our usual speed and put it down to growth on the hull.

On arrival in Rothesay Chris got his wetsuit on and jumped in to investigate. Sure enough, the propeller was home to a number of barnacles, and there was plenty of soft growth across the whole hull.

Chris spent a couple of hours scrubbing, and making friends with the fish, whilst Rosanne entertained the curious onlookers. Once the prop and one side of the hull was clean he decided to call it a day and Rosanne rewarded him with dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant.

We were super excited about where the next 14 days would take us!!

 

Playing with Toys!

With all our new toys to play with we were just too eager to work a normal 5 day week! We escaped early, on Thursday and drove down to Ragdoll just as the daylight was fading. We spent Thursday night at the mooring, before heading off to Holy Loch next day. It was a bit of a miserable grey day with a fair bit of rain, and decent amount of chop – but hey – we’d rather be sailing on a bad day than in the office!

Once booked in at Holy Loch we were off like a shot to Swordfish Marine Engineering to check out the outboards. We were assisted by a very helpful chap and walked away very happy with our new Mercury 3.5hp Fourstroke outboard. Obviously we spent the next 2 hours zooming round the marina testing it out. Thankfully the rain eased off and the sun even came out for a while! What a great way to spend a Friday afternoon!

With rain setting in we made dinner onboard and cozied up for the evening, watching some youtube videos and catching up on the blog.

Next morning dawned brighter and calmer so we got the SUPs inflated and headed out into the marina. It’s not quite as easy as it looks, and it took a wee while to get our balance. Chris was up on his feet like a pro in no time! Rosanne took a little longer building up her confidence, but eventually made it to standing, with an applause! Whilst we had been working on our skills, a cruise ship had been unloading passengers via small trip boats. We had provided plenty of entertainment for them!!

Worn out by our training, before heading off, we ventured to the Holy Loch Coffee Shop for an epic hot chocolate and a celebratory cake!

Holy Loch was quite a hub of activity, from it’s Cruise ship antics, to a ship loading wood, there was plenty to keep us entertained!

With the weather worsening slightly again, we ventured off hoping to find some sunnier skies in Loch Goil. Unfortunately, the wind was in the wrong direction (as seems to always be the case!!) so we motored our way over. We managed to grab the last of the visitor moorings at Lochgoilhead and had dinner in the cockpit, before heading out in the dinghy for a wander and a trip to the pub.

On the return journey, Rosanne was keen to be in charge of the outboard. Unfortunately, after one glass of wine, she forgot everything she had learnt and put the engine into a manic circular motion, going round and round. This sent her into a giggling fit making it even more impossible to regain control…thankfully Chris stepped in to restore order to the situation!! Somehow we made it back to Ragdoll.

The sky had begun to clear, and the promise of a meteor shower was too great not to stay up and watch. We turned the cockpit into a snug, with all of our cushions, blankets and even a couple of hot water bottles, and bedded down to watch the show!

With rain (again) the next morning we had a lazy morning, before setting off back. We stopped off at Carrick Castle, where Chris got back on his SUP and Rosanne took the dinghy for a pootle. Back on Ragdoll, we headed back to our mooring, sad to be leaving for another week. The porpoises put on an excellent display which made up for it though! Before we left Ragdoll, we decided she deserved a good scrub! She’s back to looking nice and shiny again now! Roll on next time!

Christmas in August!?

We still have a long list of things we’d like for Ragdoll, and have spent so much time talking and thinking about them, that we decided it was time to treat her/us with some new toys!

Meet Monty the Mantus!

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We’ve had real issues with anchoring in the Clyde so far. We have tried in several different locations, but always struggled to get a satisfying bite. This anchor looks (and feels) far more promising! From Chris’s initial testing on the front lawn it is hard to imagine Monty not getting a bite in anything! We’re hoping for lots more anchoring out opportunities now that Monty is part of the team!

Since we’ve been on the mooring, we have obviously been getting much more use out of the dinghy. An outboard has been on the list for a while, and we had spotted some in the chandlery at Holy Loch on our previous visit. We finally decided to take the plunge and buy one… a Mercury 3.5 Fourstroke from Swordfish Marine Engineering at Holy Loch.

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And then…having bought two presents for Ragdoll, we thought it was only fair to buy some toys for us too…so we bought the inflatable stand up paddleboards that we have been eyeing up for a while! We’re looking forward to testing them out, and hopping on those to explore, instead of always having to use the dinghy! Fingers crossed we can stay upright!!!

We’ll be eating smart price for the next few weeks now…!!

Holy Loch

After a particularly busy week at work we made it to Ragdoll on Saturday evening, after a detour to check on one of Chris’ work vessels… at 79m, a slightly larger boat than Ragdoll!

It was a rather choppy, wet night so we chose to spend the evening on the pontoon rather than having adventures! A tin of spaghetti hoops, and a cider later we were both fairly content and spent the evening catching up on some of our favourite sailing video bloggers.

Next morning we headed out to Holy Loch. There was no wind, but it was a beautifully flat day for a motor. Unfortunately Chris wasn’t feeling too good, but Rosanne took the helm and enjoyed being skipper for once… she didn’t even sink!

The sun eventually made an appearance and the porpoises were out to play making the trip complete!

We stopped off in Holy Loch just long enough to get an icecream….we’ll have to return to explore further!

It wasn’t one of our most adventurous trips, but it was nice to make it out on the water and blow the cobwebs away!

Sailing & Cruising Flotilla to Tarbert

With a free weekend ahead of us we managed to wrangle a spare space on the Sailing and Cruising Scotland Flotilla to Tarbert.

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We made it to Rothesay, in the dark, late on the Friday night to avoid such an early start on the Saturday. On arrival, Rothesay was a hub of activity with several boats on the visitor pontoon along with some boys with an extremely well-built, homemade raft. We heard from our boat neighbours that they had come across on it from the mainland, and promptly disappeared to the pub!

We spent what was left of the night chatting by lamplight to our pontoon neighbours who shared their experiences of crossing the Atlantic! We were gripped by all their tales and tried to memorize all of their valuable advice! Before we knew it the small hours had arrived!

After a late night chatting we were up just in the nick of time to join the flotilla at 10am at Toward. It was exciting to join the rest of the boats, all dressed with flags for the occasion. It was the first time Chris had his new flag set out…although they had to be hoisted in rather a chaotic hurry!

In the Kyle’s of Bute we caught up with the boys in the raft from the previous night. Chris thought it would be funny to donate a tin of spaghetti hoops as ’emergency rations’ so we slowed down to get close enough to pass it over. They were so pleased that they exchanged it for a metal screw! The fun continued as one of the boys decided he’d like to hitch a lift in our dingy! It provided plenty of entertainment, and was quite a sight to see! We decided that their raft was lacking a flag, so we donated our humongous rainbow flag to them!

It was typical West coast weather with glorious sunshine one moment and rain the next. Just as we approached Tarbert the heavens opened and there was an almighty downpour….! Doh! Oh well, we’re used to the drowned rats look!

Once in Tarbert, we chilled out for a while and then braved going for a walk once the sun came out. We stopped off in a small gallery to “have a look.” We spotted some gorgeous highland cow prints and just couldn’t resist….we decided to buy one….we left with three! Next we ventured up to the castle which had a spectacular view, and then on to a beach covered in beautiful scallop shells. Chris picked Rosanne the best to take back to Ragdoll. We headed back to the marina as it started to rain, but of course we stopped for an icecream on the way (rain or no rain!!) looking forward to the BBQ. Unfortunately we were too late! We ventured to the local Indian Restaurant for dinner instead.

Later in the evening we went for our usual wander around the marina so that Chris could have a good boat perv. We spotted one boat looking a bit low in the water. Thinking she was sinking Chris went to investigate and rather panicked the owner. Thankfully the boat was very much afloat and just had people on board!

We returned home next day, enjoying the sunshine and a good bit of wind! White Dawn accompanied us as we left Tarbert and Rosanne practiced using her camera in more choppy conditions!

Loch Goil

After keeping Ragdoll in James Watt Dock Marina for her first couple of months in the Clyde, we decided to move her and experience life on a mooring for the first time. Whilst marinas are great for all their handy facilities, we were finding that we tend to turn up on a Friday and disappear off until the end of the weekend, not really using the facilities anyway, therefore a mooring would be a far cheaper option for us.

We sailed Ragdoll to her new home on Saturday morning, before a return journey via ferry and bikes to pick up the jeep. We made it back to Ragdoll by mid afternoon, and decided to set out and explore our new surroundings. We headed for Loch Goil, arriving mid evening. The plan was to anchor off Carrick Castle, but unfortunately after several attempts our anchor just wouldn’t take the bite. Thankfully there were plenty of moorings close by and so we took one of those instead.

We spent a beautiful summers evening onboard with a boat cooked lasagne, surrounded by beautiful scenery. We took the dinghy ashore and went for an explore. Carrick is a very small settlement with no real amenities, except for public toilets (take your own loo roll though!), but we enjoyed a lovely walk through the village, and the views are stunning!

We spent what was left of the evening sitting on deck with our lamps.

Next morning we decided to carry on up the loch to Lochgoilhead. There we picked up a mooring, and enjoyed the chaos of the local outdoor centre instructors trying to control some children having a kayak lesson! We dinghyed ashore again and went for an exploratory walk.

All in all, a pretty perfect weekend!